Skip to content

By Dan Rubinstein

“Rubinstein’s sources repeatedly caution him that walking is not a miracle cure. But the book shows how putting one foot in front of the other intersects with nearly every facet of the human experience, from mental health to economics to creativity, with no shortage of scientific firepower to back it up.” — Edmonton Journal

“I loved this book. With every page I was screaming, ‘Yes, yes! He’s got it so right!’” — 52 Books or Bust


Rubinstein_Born to Walk

The humble act of putting one foot in front of the other transcends age, geography, culture, and class, and is one of the most economical and environmentally responsible modes of transit. Yet with our modern fixation on speed, this healthy pedestrian activity has been largely left behind.

At a personal and professional crossroads, writer, editor, and obsessive walker Dan Rubinstein travelled throughout the U.S., U.K., and Canada to walk with people who saw the act not only as a form of transportation and recreation, but also as a path to a better world. There are no magic-bullet solutions to modern epidemics like obesity, anxiety, alienation, and climate change. But what if there is a simple way to take a step in the right direction? Combining fascinating reportage, eye-opening research, and Rubinstein’s own discoveries, Born to Walk explores how far this ancient habit can take us, how much repair is within range, and guarantees that you’ll never again take walking for granted.

“Walking is healthy, creatively useful and, according to Rubinstein’s deeply researched book, socially, economically, environmentally, politically, psychologically and spiritually beneficial.” — Globe and Mail

“About four pages into this book I was hooked: The writing is high quality, it’s dotted with nuggets of research and Rubinstein has travelled far afield to walk with some of the world’s most interesting pedestrians.” — Toronto Star

“In this worthy addition to the nonfiction walking canon, Ottawa-based feature writer-editor and avid trekker Dan Rubinstein tests his hypothesis that walking can fix — or at least patch — a broken world.” — Winnipeg Free Press

“Dan Rubinstein has walked in northern Quebec, in inner-city Philadelphia, in the British Isles, and more, to research his just-released book Born to Walk. But it was right around the corner from his house that the Ottawa author encountered a pedestrian’s worst nightmare.” — Ottawa Citizen

“It is disheartening that we need a book to prove that walking is positive and human beings, evolutionarily blessed with big toes, should walk more. However, Rubinstein illustrates that we are in urgent need of this reminder.” — Quill & Quire

“I thought I’d already read the book on walking. Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust is one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read, a book that opened my eyes to the wonders of rambling and tramping, and to how amazing is the ordinary world around us all the time.  After Wanderlust, what else needs to be said? So I wasn’t entirely sold on Dan Rubinstein’s Born to Walk — not at least until I opened the book … and realized that the journey, delightfully, continues on.” — Pickle Me This

“It wasn’t until I went out to these big sprawling cities [such as Edmonton] that I started walking. Passing through them on foot, you get to experience the scale of them, and the fine grained textures…. You really begin to understand the place.”     — Metro Edmonton

“A perfect springtime read, an absorbing book that will awaken your senses to nature and your nature.” — 49th Shelf Q&A

“Full disclosure: I am a committed walker.” — interview with Shelagh Rogers on CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter (25:00 in)

The fascinating manner by which we are predisposed to bipedalism. — Kobo Writing Life Podcast

How walking helps the economy and could change your life — interview with CBC Radio, Hamilton, Ont.

The physical and spiritual benefits of walking — interview with CBC Radio, Edmonton

Interview with Shelagh Rogers on CBC’s The Next Chapter, May 2015

Interview with CJAD 800 in Montreal

Interview with NPR radio in Park City, Utah (at 30:30)

Interview on CBC The Next Chapter


ECW, world English, 2015

Martins Fontes, Brazil, 2016

Quebec Amerique, French, 2016


Shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize